OLD Media Moves

The Audit benefactor is former Enron board member

March 30, 2007

Posted by Chris Roush

Forbes.com columnist Gary Weiss writes on his blog Friday that the Herbert Winokur who is helping to fund Columbia Journalism Review’s blog “The Audit” about business journalism because of his concern about the quality of the field is the same Herbert Winokur lambasted by the business media for his role in the Enron collapse as one of its board members.

Herbert WinokurWeiss wrote, “I can understand Winokur’s concern about the ‘quality’ (i.e., favorableness or lack thereof) of business reporting, considering how much of a shellacking he and the other Enron board members received.

“Many articles covering the scandal, such as this one from early 2002 in the New York Times, pointed to the role of Winokur’s finance committee in reviewing transactions by Enron’s off balance sheet partnerships.

“He and other members of the Enron board were hauled before the House Commerce Committee, and Winokur did not exactly cover itself in glory, according to Frank Rich of the Times. Pointing to an internal report on the Enron disaster, Rich said:

One author is Herbert Winokur Jr., an Enron outside director who was in the fortunate position of having a big say in a report passing judgment on his own questionable corporate citizenship. Appearing before the House Commerce Committee with condescension in his voice and a flag pin in his lapel, he contradicted himself so much under questioning that one member, Bart Stupak of Michigan, told me he had ‘impeached his own testimony.’

“Gee, I’d be concerned about the ‘quality’ of business reporting after reading stuff like this.”

Read more here.

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